A month or so ago, a friend who reads all of my organizing posts raised a semi-rhetorical question: "How do I stop myself from buying all these cute organizing accessories?"
Buying containers, planners and organizing accessories is a sign of optimism. We'd like to believe that somehow, somewhere, there is one single tool that will conquer our organizational challenges and leave us put together, on time and well-managed.
I'm a big fan of optimism, but that's a lot to ask from one tool.
Still, I'm also a big fan of organizers, too, especially when the price is right. Over time, however, I've learned how to avoid the purchases that give me buyer's remorse and bring home the tools that truly assist me in my (never-ending) quest for organization and time management.
[tweet "3 reasons to leave that miracle organizer on the store shelf, from @L2Hess #STYLEsavvy"]
Here are the three reasons I've come up with to leave that miracle organizer on the store shelf instead of bringing it home.
- It doesn't fit your styles. If I've learned nothing else, I've learned that trying to organize counter to my styles backfires every time. No matter how pretty, cheap or practical the storage, if it has too many steps or puts things out of sight, it won't work. I'll drop and run instead of following a multi-step organizational process, and I'll forget all about papers put in a drawer, pretty box or file cabinet. If I want to remember to do it, I need to see it. Your styles may differ from mine, but, as you hold that lovely item from the clearance rack in your hands, ask yourself if it's a match for your styles. If not, you're better off spending your money on a fancy coffee or breakfast at the diner.
- You have nowhere to put it. This is really difficult to admit when you find something in your price range that does fit your styles. But, think about it. Does bringing home something that will remain homeless, drifting from one spot in your home to another, create an organizational solution or an organizational problem?
- You don't have a purpose in mind for it. My love of organizers has made this puzzle piece the last one to fit into place. Admittedly, I've purchased things when my purpose was slim, to say the least; unfortunately, many of these "tools" are still sitting in my basement, waiting to be put to use. Now, on the occasions where the item seems to be a must-have, I make sure the store is easily accessible, I know its return policy and I give myself a deadline. It must find a use before the deadline arrives, or back it goes. Consequently, I take fewer chances and have a much higher success rate.
Much as we'd love to believe the hype, there is no one perfect tool that solves all of our organizational issues. We are the brains behind this organizational operation, and the containers and planners and folders merely tools at our disposal. When we align the tools with the brains of the operation, we emerge victorious. So, when you go shopping for all of those wonderful tools, be sure to bring your brain along with you.
Copyright 2017 Lisa Hess
About the Author
Transplanted Jersey girl Lisa Lawmaster Hess is the author of a blog compilation, three novels, and three non-fiction books, including the award-winning Know Thyself: The Imperfectionist’s Guide to Sorting Your Stuff. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is an adjunct professor of psychology at York College of Pennsylvania. She blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, Organizing by STYLE, and here at Catholicmom.com. Read all articles by Lisa Hess.